The Journal of Primary Care & Community Health published in Volume II:1-6 of their journal and accepted on August 5, 2020, a study that showed chiropractic care ranked better that a multidisciplinary pain team in the care of chronic spinal pain.
In explaining the background for this study, the authors state, “Chronic spinal pain is one of the most common diseases in the United States. Underserved patients are most affected, and disproportionately may use opioid medications as they lack access to other therapies.” The authors go on to say, “In the United States, 20.4% (50.0 million) adults suffer from chronic pain, and 8.0% (19.6 million) of U.S. adults have high-impact chronic pain (chronic pain limiting life and work activities).”
Lower back pain in the most common spinal pain and causes the most years of disability globally. Neck pain ranks fourth in years of disability. It is also reported that those that live in poorer communities are more likely to have disability from spinal pain than those in more affluent areas.
This study was conducted in a healthcare center in St. Louis, Missouri. In that center, two types of care were given to patients with chronic pain. One type of care was given by a multidisciplinary chronic pain team, and the other type of care was chiropractic care. The team rendering multidisciplinary chronic pain care consisted of a primary care physician (PCP), a behavioral health consultant, a clinical nurse, and a clinical pharmacist. The chiropractic care was given by faculty professors and students from Logan University, a chiropractic college in Chesterfield, Missouri.
Patients entering the study were referred to either type of care or both, based on the patient’s preference and recommendation of their provider. The pain team care was largely reimbursed by insurance while the chiropractic was paid by the patients. A “PDQ” (Pain Disability Questionnaire) was used to measure the results of the participants in each of the groups.
There were 20 participants who received chiropractic care and 12 who were treated by the pain team. The study itself was scheduled to run for a longer period of time with more participants but was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The results of those who were able to complete the study showed that the chiropractic group had significantly more improvement that the pain team group after care was rendered by the respective groups.
The authors reported in their study that, “… enrollment in the chiropractic team (P = .01) were associated with a larger improvement in PDQ after intervention.” They noted that chiropractic care should be included in healthcare centers to make it easier for those in underserved areas to receive chiropractic care.